WASHINGTON (WNCN) – Joining together in a bi-partisan letter, U.S. Reps Richard Hudson (R-NC) and Deborah Ross (D-NC) are pleading with the EPA to do more.
They want Chemours to pay for health and environmental testing of toxic chemicals used at its facility in Fayetteville.
“In particular people who produce the chemicals, who have access to the most information should care about the health and safety of people in North Carolina and across the country,” said Ross.
The chemical compound Gen-X is used in manufacturing nonstick coatings and for other purposes.
After it was found seeping into the Cape Fear River, Chemours was fined $12 million in 2019 and was required to provide drinking water to those with contaminated wells.
“If you want to be a good corporate citizen, you have to care about the effects of what you produce,” said Ross.
The Trump administration denied a citizen’s petition to require Chemours to be financially responsible for testing.
Much of North Carolina’s congressional delegation wants new EPA Administrator Michael Regan to change that policy.
Regan is North Carolina’s former head of Environmental Quality and oversaw that agency’s response to Chemours and Gen-X.
“We need to have clear health and safety guidelines and requirements of testing. These are forever chemicals and we know that they have had bad effects on people’s health. And it is up to our regulators to hold their feet to the fire and protect the public,” Ross said.
In response, Chemours representative Lisa Randall said:
“Several of the compounds cited in the petition have no known connection to Chemours’ Fayetteville Works operations. Others are byproducts and intermediaries that occur at such small quantities, levels that continue to decrease, that it would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to manufacture the volumes required for testing. Chemours supports science-based regulations and has worked with EPA and other regulators to develop and expand scientific knowledge concerning PFAS, including on issues of analytical chemistry, environmental fate and transport, toxicology and remediation. The numerous actions we have taken to reduce fluorinated organic compound emissions and address remediation needs continue to make a significant difference in reducing loadings to the Cape Fear River.”
Dana Sargent, executive director of Cape Fear River Watch said:
“PFAS are ubiquitous and persistent, and their vast array of human health impacts do not discriminate based on political affiliation. We are grateful that our North Carolina legislators are making clear that clean water – and protecting human health and the environment – are not partisan issues. EPA, for far too long, has lost sight of its mission. We are counting on EPA, under the leadership of Administrator Regan, to do their job and put the burden where it belongs, on the PFAS polluters, whose decades-long reckless and feckless corporate greed created this mess.”
Kathryn Alcantar, policy director for Center for Environmental Health, added:
“When Congress amended TSCA in 2016, it strengthened EPA’s authority to order companies who are responsible for polluting drinking water sources to pay for the necessary research into the human health and environmental effects of the chemicals they release from their facilities. CEH and its North Carolina partners believe that it is time for EPA to use its TSCA authority to hold Chemours accountable for using Cape Fear River communities as Guinea pigs and order Chemours to test the 54 PFAS identified in our petition. Exposed North Carolina residents and their families deserve this critical information about the health risks to which they have been and continue to be exposed.”
Last year, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein filed a lawsuit against Chemours and its parent company Dupont.
In the complaint, Stein said the companies knew the use and disposal of certain chemicals posed significant threats to human health and the environment.
Stein also said Chemours and Dupont contaminated the land, air, water, and other valuable natural resources around their Fayetteville works facility, in the Cape Fear River and in downstream communities for decades.